Volkswagen AG has athletic plans for the next-generation Jetta and Passat wagons, the company's North American chief says.

Currently, the auto maker offers traditional box-on-sedan wagon versions of both vehicles. Neither comfortably fit into the European sportwagon mold that has sprouted in recent years, compared with offerings from BMW AG, Volvo Car Corp., Saab Automobile and VW's luxury brand Audi.

Volkswagen of America Inc. Vice President Len Hunt tells Ward's on the sidelines of a Jetta media drive in San Diego to expect wagon versions of both models to be sportier than current-generation wagons and better suited for the evolving U.S. market. They will have crisper handling; better fuel economy and more centered dynamics than body-on-frame SUVs and car-based cross/utility vehicles.

Hunt says the forthcoming wagons will look like they were designed separately from their sedan counterparts and incorporate Audi's sportier wagon stance. The next-generation Jetta wagon's on-sale date has not yet been finalized, but the Passat wagon will bow in early 2006. Sedan versions of the Jetta and Passat go on sale in March and this summer, respectively.